Sabah – Spain’s fifth biggest lender, Banco Popular has prioritized Turkey as a growth market where it may consider applying for a banking license or acquire a local bank in the future, according to Juan Echanojauregui, head of the bank’s international banking division.
“Turkey is on top of the list of Banco Popular’s priorities.” Echanojauregui said in a press event, following the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT). The MoU aims to improve business ties between Turkey and Spain by facilitating bilateral investments and trade. The Spanish lender has a representative office in Istanbul since last May, serving nearly the half of the hundred Spanish companies operating in Turkey.
“Spanish companies, especially the SMEs, are increasingly intent on entering the Turkish market. EU excluded, Turkey comes second after the US in countries Spain does business with. Turkish-Spanish trade volume is set to reach EUR 8 billion in 2012.” Echanojauregui said. The Spanish executive also praised Turkey’s solid and well-managed financial services sector, naming it as the “most attractive” in Europe.
Signing the MoU on behalf of ISPAT, Ilker Ayci, the President of ISPAT, said that Banco Popular’s presence in Turkey would pave the way for more Spanish investments in Turkey. Last year, another Spanish lender, BBVA, had acquired 24.9 percent of the stakes of Garanti Bank, Turkey’s largest bank by market value, for over EUR 4 billion.